Let’s face it, Google runs the Internet. It’s all about the algorithms—the mysterious rankings that Google assigns to webpages. It can be really frustrating trying to figure out how they work!
Here are some steps you can take to get your business’s online presence up and running with Google. We’ve also broken down the pros and cons of Google’s ad platform, AdWords.
Start your My Business Account and get your business listed!
In order for anyone to even find you, having your business at least appear in local searches is a great first step. To make sure your business stands out on searches and on Google Maps, you need to start up a My Business Account on Google to get your business listed. The process is…not fun. It’s lengthy and confusing with little live customer support.
But it must be done—according to this study, the average business is found in 1,009 searches per month, with 84% of clicks coming from discovery searches.
So, here’s the tricky part if your business is online-only, or if you’re freelancing from home, or if you just don’t want to list your address! Google has certain guidelines on what types of businesses meet their criteria for listing. And usually the business needs to have a ‘face-to-face’ element with customers (like a bar, restaurant, or gallery). However, there are some workarounds.
Experiment with Google’s AdWords—but know what you’re getting into.
So. Google AdWords‑are they worth the money? And the answer is, it depends. Here’s how AdWords work—it’s a pay-per-click (PPC) model where you (the advertiser) pay a small fee per click or ad impression. Simply put, like Google’s My Business, AdWords also uses algorithms, based on how the advertiser targets their audience by keywords. To display ads on Google's search engine results page, you essentially pay to get 'ranked' at the top of the search results.
Still not sure if AdWords would work for your business? Here’s a handy chart of pros and cons to help you figure it all out:
1. Budget flexibility—Whether your budget is big or small, you can control how much you want to spend and set the maximum cost per click for your keywords.
2. Targeting—You can target specific audiences based on location, interests, habits and other demographic information, and get great insights into how your audiences respond to certain keywords and phrases.
3. Ad Versatility—You can make banner ads, YouTube videos, and design ads for in-app experiences as well, reaching those ever-more valuable mobile customers.
1. Learning Curve—To successfully ‘game the system’ with Google AdWords, you have to really understand keywords and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which can take a lot of time. If you can afford it, try hiring an SEO specialist to help. One good thing about AdWords is it lets you experiment with keywords for free to see what works best.
2. Clicks don’t equal cash—Just because someone clicks through an ad to your website, does not mean they’ll buy anything, though you’re still paying for the click-through! If you just want the exposure, though, AdWords can help.
3. Bid automation can be a bummer—Adwords makes their money by auto-bidding popular keywords, and since Google is a big ol’ aggregator, their wide-ranging ways of gathering keyword data might not reach your target audience.
Hopefully this will help you find a place for your business in the jungle of algorithms that is Google. We’ve also got a guide to promoting your business on Facebook and a breakdown of Facebook’s ad platform. Check it out here!